Towards a conceptualization of the early career stage of principalship: Current research, idiosyncrasies and future directions

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Abstract

This review aims at providing a synthesis of the scholarship that has sought to expand the understanding of the early career stage of principalship by documenting the experiences and tasks of new principals (NPs) in the first three years in the post, and their personal and organizational determinants. The synthesis is based on empirical research studies that have attempted to characterize the career of NPs worldwide in the last two decades. Notably, novice principals experience some sort of surprise, reality shock, high levels of stress and a sense of loneliness in their first years as well as have insufficient managerial competence, low practical expertise in educational administration and a greater propensity for making mistakes. Consequently, the new principal has to learn basic practical managerial skills, diagnose the school culture and environment, develop leadership capabilities and devise a new school vision. This socialization process is dynamic and develops during the first three years in the role. The review ends with a comparative analytic discussion of the universal vs. particular experiences and tasks in the early career stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-151
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Leadership in Education
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012

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